Credit card fraud is the second most common form of identity theft, which accounted for 17% of total fraud in a 2015 report from the Federal Trade Commission. “To prevent identity theft, protecting yourself from credit card fraud is probably one of the most important steps you can take,” says Randy Hopper, vice president of Credit Cards at Navy Federal. Luckily, there are a number of things that you can do to protect yourself:

Secure your credit cards

1. Don’t lend your cards to anyone, including your children! You never know how they may use the card.

2. Only carry the cards you need so there is less for a potential thief to take and fewer cards you’ll have to freeze if your wallet is lost or stolen.

3. Keep cards close to your body in a purse or wallet.

Be careful with your card information

4. Record your card and account numbers along with expiration dates in a safe place at home. Include the phone number for each card company so you can report fraud and minimize damage quickly.

5. Don’t leave cards or statements around your home or office. The information can be used by fraudsters. 

6. Shred documents containing personal information before throwing them away.

7. Never give your account number to anyone on the phone unless you initiated the call to a company you know to be reputable.

Use your card wisely

8. Never sign a receipt leaving lines, such as the total, blank. The information on a blank receipt may be changed after you have already signed it. Drawing a line through any blank spaces may help.

9. Watch your card during a transaction and make sure you get it back.

10. Look for irregularities with an ATM before using it, especially with the card slot. If it looks odd, it may be a skimmer used to capture your credit card information. If you notice it after you have inserted your card, alert the card issuer. 

11. Be cautious when using your cards online. Only enter information on websites you’re 100% sure are legitimate or use a third-party site (such as PayPalTM) when you can.

Get in the habit of regularly reviewing your billing statements. “Watching for unfamiliar charges, even small ones, is important,” says Hopper. “These are often the first clues that your card is being used fraudulently.” If you see any unfamiliar charges, alert your card issuer before the criminal uses it for much larger charges.

Navy Federal uses state-of-the-art fraud prevention systems to keep your account secure. We are always on the lookout for suspicious activity so we can take steps to stop it as soon as possible. Learn more about our fraud prevention services.